Experimental Music Since 1970

Experimental Music Since 1970

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What is experimental music today? This book offers an up to date survey of this field for anyone with an interest, from seasoned practitioners to curious readers. This book takes the stance that experimental music is not a limited historical event, but is a proliferation of approaches to sound that reveals much about present-day experience. An experimental work is not identifiable by its sound alone, but by the nature of the questions it poses and its openness to the sounding event.

Experimentation is a way of working. It pushes past that which is known to discover what lies beyond it, finding new knowledge, forms, and relationships, or accepting a state of uncertainty. For each of these composers and sound artists, craft is developed and transformed in response to the questions they bring to their work. Scientific, perceptual, or social phenomena become catalysts in the operation of the work.

These practices are not presented according to a chronology, a set of techniques, or social groupings. Instead, they are organized according to the content areas that are their subjects, including resonance, harmony, objects, shapes, perception, language, interaction, sites, and histories. Musical materials may be subject, among other treatments, to systemization, observation, examination, magnification, fragmentation, translation, or destabilization. These restless and exploratory modes of engagement have continued to develop over recent decades, expanding the scope of both musical practice and listening.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20.32mm | 443g
  • Bloomsbury Academic USA
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 40 b/w images
  • 1628922478
  • 9781628922479
  • 20,376

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Defining Features of Experimental Music
1.1. Introduction
1.2. Indeterminacy
1.3. Silence

Chapter 2: Scientific Approaches
2.1. Acts of Discovery
2.2. Harmonic Relations
2.3. Playing with Numbers
2.4. Learning by Making
2.5. Finding Hidden Sounds

Chapter 3: Physicalities
3.1. The Physicality of Performance
3.2. Resonant Spaces
3.3. Objects as Instruments
3.4. From Shape to Sound

Chapter 4: Perception
4.1. The Position of the Listener
4.2. The Perception of Time

Chapter 5: Information, Language, and Interaction
5.1. Treatments of Sonic Information
5.2. The Sounds of Living Beings
5.3. Language
5.4. Interaction

Chapter 6: Place and Time
6.1. Mappings
6.2. Site-Specific Works
6.3. Histories

Chapter 7: Advocates


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Review quote

Experimental Music Since 1970 is destined to become a standard reference work. It is comprehensive and well organised, and it gives a good picture of the scope of the subject. ... Gottschalk's book is somewhat like a brilliant encyclopedia with informative summary passages on various makers and elements of experimental music. ... I will certainly be putting [it] on my booklists for undergraduates. * The Wire * [Full of] lucid and engaging discussion of so much music new to me, which has had me scurrying to Youtube, download sites and the library to find examples. Gottschalk's book is enthusiastic, highly readable and does not attempt to be too definitive in its explorations. * International Times * Readers hungry for a broader view of the field will be enticed here by the buffet of younger and lesser-known artists [in the Table of Contents] from all corners of the globe, as well as Anglo-American veterans and icons. * Journal of Sonic Studies * We have needed a reformulation of what experimental music now means, i.e., what has become since Michael Nyman took stock of it in 1974-and this book beautifully fulfills that requirement. Jennie Gottschalk takes a fresh and independent look at experimental music of the last forty years, finding both points of continuation from the previous era and many novel and heartening developments. It is also an adventure story with surprising twists and a panoramic cast of characters, like a novel in which works and ideas are the central figures, seemingly with a collective life of their own. * Michael Pisaro, Composer and Faculty Member, Composition and Experimental Sound Practices, California Institute of the Arts, USA * Reading Experimental Music Since 1970 it is impossible not to be dazzled first by the range and imagination of experimental music and sound art that is being made today, and second by the way in which Jennie Gottschalk has described and catalogued so much of it, so lucidly. Impeccably and authoritatively researched, by a writer who is both a practitioner and an astute observer, it deserves to be the go-to reference for years to come. * Tim Rutherford-Johnson, author of 'Music After The Fall: Modern Composition and Culture Since 1989', UK * This book is a unique achievement. Without catering to current fashions or well-worn academic assumptions, it transcends the limits of both journalism and traditional musicology to be both comprehensive and insightful. Reading it has helped me to ask new questions about a history that I thought I knew quite well. * David Dunn, Assistant Professor of Music, University of California Santa Cruz, USA *
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About Jennie Gottschalk

Jennie Gottschalk is a composer and independent scholar based in Boston. Since receiving a doctorate in composition from Northwestern University in 2008, she has traveled extensively to gather first-hand information about experimental music practices. For additional resources related to this book, please visit the author's website at soundexpanse.com.
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Rating details

28 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 32% (9)
4 46% (13)
3 14% (4)
2 7% (2)
1 0% (0)
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